Monday, September 29, 2008

Soon to Be Fall

Here it is - Sept 29th, just one more day until October. I am so not ready for fall. Not ready to wake up in the dark, not ready for the dreary looking days, not yet ready for the drizzle that lingers for days, and not ready for the holidays that tend to cause sadness in many people.

I have enjoyed spring and summer this year, I enjoyed the slight breezes that cooled me on those hot afternoons, the smells of fresh mowed grass (even though it made me sneeze and rub my eyes), being able to attend River Rhythms with good friends, sitting on the deck listening to the silence of the night and going to bed with the window open hearing the frogs and crickets sing their songs.

The last few months I have been able to take some good pictures. Mostly because I am taking my time composing them better and I am taking the camera with me more often. I am finding that I can't get my macro shots to come out as I see them in my head. Is it the camera, me or a combination of the two.

I went out Sunday afternoon and took some flower shots at the courthouse. I like some of the but the one I was really hoping would turn out didn't do as well. A small butterfly (?) sat on this marigold for the longest time, allowing me to take many shots. The amazing part is I watched as it fed on the flower, sticking the proboscis in and out, over and over again.

I was thrilled to be able to go to the Fall Festival with some friends. I love hanging out with them. They have such a great outlook. Make me feel welcome. Cooling down with snow cones and walking downtown was just great.

So - soon fall will be upon us, gone will be the days of shorts and flip flops. Soon will be the days of jackets, long pants, possibly gloves and the days of constant rain. Soon will be the days of brightly colored leaves falling from the trees; covering the bright green grass that has sprung back to life. Grass that has been in a dormant state due to people deciding NOT to water their lawns in order to afford gas and groceries. Fall - the time of year for homecoming games, the first queen of the new school year, the time when people start worrying about the fastly approaching holidays.

May you enjoy the wonderful weather we have here in the valley. Remember - you could be living in a place that snows alot. That rain that has fallen for 3 days could equal many inches of snow in another state!!.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Up, Up & Away

I got to thinking the other day that I hadn't talked about the NW Art & Air Fest that Albany has held every August for the last 24 years.

It is the last fun summer thing I do before heading back to work.

I love this fest! So many beautiful balloons, nice people, fun activities and many photo opportunities. I have been interested in hot air balloons since we lived in Bothell, WA and saw some balloons flying in a nearby town. We chased those balloons and we were able to watch them deflate and pack up the balloon.

When we moved here in 1993 I was thrilled to see balloons flying over the house one morning. I made sure to get up real early the next morning and watched the balloons fill up with air from a fan and then the pilot ignite his burner to heat that air up, causing the envelope to rise up. Watching in amazement as they would load people into the baskets and with the push of a lever more heat would come from the burner allowing for the balloon to lift off the ground. Gently, quietly, lifting with grace the balloons would catch the slight wind currents and take off in unknown directions.

August 2001 Top of the CheckMate balloon

The next year I made sure to mark the 3 day weekend that the balloon fest would be happening. I got the kids up early and we went to the nearby high school were they were doing the liftoffs. We were thrilled when we got to help a pilot or two with their balloons. This same year we even chased the balloons and watched them land. How exciting!!

Somewhere along the line we signed up to be one the "crew", a group of volunteers who are assigned to help a pilot with his/her balloon for the weekend (or as much as you can). Both the kids were excited to do this.
As the years went on we continued to help, somewhere along the line, wonderful son dropped out of the scene and it ended up being just my daughter and I. Great bonding time, getting up at 4 or 4:30 to be on the field by 5:15 to 5:30 am. She is NOT a morning person. LOL

N and I at West A helping out! - 2003

Some pilots will even try and give a crew member a ride on the last day if they don't have passengers. I have been up 3 times, T has been up 4 or 5 times I think and N- 4 to 6 times.

But my best time going up was when N & I were able to go up together in 2006. I took my camera (duh!) and was able to take some great shots.
N & Mar holding done the basket before lift off - '06

A view from the balloon as we lift off

A beautiful shot of the pilot's brother's balloon

N looking out at the landscape

N & Mar enjoying time together
In the last couple of years my son has been helping out with the balloon fest - he and his housemate have been doing launch detail. This means that they tell the pilots when they have the clearance to lift off.

This summer marked my 12th or 13th year helping out. I ended up helping 2 pilots this year. The first one was Kevin from Louisiana and Eugene. Really nice guy, pretty balloon. He made it to Freeway Lakes where I was able to take a few shots of him over the calm lake. The day was overcast and the lighting was blah, but I did get a few good shots in. On Sat & Sun I was assigned to help Mick Vale and his wife. What a nice newlywed couple, they are a bit older than me. They askd me to help again next year, maybe. I was also asked by Kevin to help him next year and then there was Scott S. from 2 years ago, he asked for me too. WOW.
'08 - Over Freeway Lake

Count how many there are

One of my favs this year

My other fav!
I got a text from my son that Sunday of the fest. He was able to get a ride. Carrie was his pilot and he got to ride in her balloon "Ha Kunna Matta". Here she is pinning her balloon pin on son. He's even smiling!! He's so handsome, isn't he?

Hope you enjoyed the photos!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Reflective Moments

As I sit here tonight working on pictures I took last week - I reflect back on motherhood.

I wanted to be a mom, but I was young and fearful of how good a parent I would be.

I was thrilled to welcome my son in 1985, a cute little bundle of energy. Always moving, always running warm. Sleeping in just a diaper in Feb. he was content.

When my daughter was born in 1987, I relished her sweet delicate and long fingers. How beautiful she was.

Still the fear in me stayed, would I be a good mom? Would my kids be happy with me? Can I teach them all they need to know in order to survive the harsh and weird world we have? Would they have lifelong friends to share the special moments of their life? Would they become the success that THEY want to achieve? I knew these were fears most parents go through but these were mine.

I have seen my kids go through many stages of growing up. Watched them make some friends both good ones and bad. I have seen my son through the death of a peer and the joy of his high school graduation. Been there when my son has gotten stitches in a battle with a tennis racket and a broken thumb after mountain biking. I watched as my daughter made friends with 4 girls in 1st grade and continues to be best friends with LAK, and good friends with the other 3. I have enjoyed taking my daughter places. We have seen one of her 4 friends get married this summer.

I have always told my children I think the best thing they can do with their life is to try and continue their education and strive to be the best that they can be. I was thrilled that my son decided to work and go to the local community college for a little more than 2 years. He then decided to quit school and work full time. Also choosing to move out into a house with a friend. Recently he told me he intends to go back to school. That is all the information I have so far but I am thrilled.

My daughter - she is starting her senior year at the U of O. I can't believe that the years since her graduation has gone by so, so quickly. She has been doing this mostly on her own as we are so dang in debt. She has less than a year to figure out what happens next but she has a good head on her shoulders and I am sure she will.

So... back to why I started this - this week I wanted to take pictures of my daughter and her longtime friend. Kind of like Senior pictures done in high school. The day was really, really bright and the girls didn't get into it as much as I wished. But I did manage to get a few good shots of them together and separately. I was amazed at the maturity these young women have acquired. They are both smart and beautiful, both inside and out.

I see a drive in these 3 young people of my life. They inspire me. Making me wish I had done more with college. Become more than I am. Now realizing that I want to go back but things are out there that prevent me from it. I wish much success and wisdom for my son, daughter, her best friend and all they touch.